Have you ever considered making extra money by helping young people? Have people told you that it is too difficult or that you can’t really make money tutoring? Well, you can. I know because I had a very lucrative tutoring business for two years. As a young teacher with a newly purchased condo, I was struggling to make ends meet. I remember considering taking on an extra job as a waitress or possibly going to work in a bookstore. The only problem was that I was absolutely exhausted after my day at work! As a new teacher, I could hardly stop my head from pounding at the end of each day much less go and clock in for another 4-5 hours somewhere else three to four days a week. A fellow teacher suggested that I begin tutoring. It made sense, but I had no idea where to start. Gratefully, a fellow teacher knew that I was looking for a tutoring gig and referred me to a family who had just lost the young lady who tutored their two boys. At first, it felt so weird to walk in and introduce myself. It was like I was interviewing from a job all over again. The most difficult part was to tell them my fee, which was a whopping $45.00 per hour at the time. Well, after two hours of talking with the family, I walked away with a schedule that included tutoring each of the two boys for two hours per week. Just like that, I had a new gig with a four-hour time commitment that paid $180.00 per week. And this is with just one family!
Do you think my story sounds like an anomaly? Trust me, it’s not. I know so many teachers who have been supplementing their income this way for years and years. As an educator, you have access to so many resources. Use them! Moreover, Patient tutoring is a lucrative job with flexible timings and really good pay. All those people that are interested in teaching other people and college students.
Follow these simple steps to get started:
- Don’t undercut yourself!
This is very important! More than anything, you don’t want to undercut your worth. Remember, as a professional educator, you have invested time and money into your career. Due to your training, you know how to assess a child’s academic needs and then look for new and inventive ways to provide academic instruction. This type of knowledge isn’t free. Talk to other teachers to see how much they are charging. Also, look on Craigslist to get a feel for what other tutors in the area are charging. When in doubt, look at the highest price and lowest price and calculate the average. Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short!
- Advertise! Advertise! Advertise!
I am not a grocery store or library flyer advertising person. While I do believe that it drums up business, it’s not typically the kind of business that I am looking for. Remember, you want to make as much money in as few hours as possible. In order to do so, you have to go where people are able and are willing to pay top dollar for top-notch instruction. Drive to the nicest neighborhood in your city and go to the neighborhood school. Most likely, these parents have invested in the neighborhood to have access to good schools. Make an appointment with the guidance counselor and let him/her know about your area of expertise. They, in turn, may share your information in parent conferences or with other teachers. Share your business card with content specialists as well.
- Look the part!
Okay, I know you don’t want to hear this, but appearance at this price point is critical. Because we work with kids, it’s easy to get comfortable and wear “casual” clothing on most days. As a private instructor, this doesn’t work. On the days that you have to tutor, make sure that you dress as though you are getting observed at work. No, you don’t have to wear a suit; however, you definitely don’t want to wear flip flops either. A nice pair of slacks, a button-down shirt, or a nice skirt goes a long way. Parents are paying professional money, so they want a professional to arrive on their doorstep. Trust me, as the referrals from other parents start rolling in, you will appreciate your commitment to professionalism.
- Be Prepared!
There are certain things that all professionals have when they are in the market to find a job. You are no different. Every time you go to meet with a client, make sure that you have a resume with references, business cards, and an example of the types of materials that you will be using with the student. Even if you don’t want to spend money on business cards, take advantage of the internet sites which offer free business cards. Remember, you may meet someone anywhere at any time who may be interested in your services. You want to be prepared! I actually sat beside what would become my highest paying client on an airplane on my way to Orlando, Fl. She had twin boys in high school. At the time, my rate had gone up to $55.00 per hour. I worked with her family for a total of four hours a week. That means that I was making $880.00 from working with just one family!
So, as you see, if you take this gig seriously and really work hard for the hours that you commit to your families, you can make a lot of money in a short amount of time. As you continue to deliver clear and concise lessons, and as your students begin to grow and prosper from the one-on-one support, your reputation will have clients flocking to you. If you take this job seriously, then your clients will take you seriously. It’s a win-win situation. Do the work and collect the checks!